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Being Sex-Positive

Do you consider yourself to be sex positive?

To answer this question, stop and consider your feelings and attitudes about sex. Do you think your sexuality is part of your identity? Is having sex part of a healthy lifestyle? Do you feel open about sex or does that subject make you feel awkward? Do you think certain sexual practices are “right” or “wrong”?

Being sex positive is not necessarily a new concept, but it’s been gaining momentum over the last few decades. And while definitions may vary from person to person, being sex positive generally embraces the following ideas:

  • Acknowledging that sex is a healthy part of life that contributes to your overall well-being. It’s meant to be enjoyed.
  • Educating oneself about one’s body, sexual health, and sexual activities. This can happen in a variety of ways: courses, websites, books, videos, self-exploration, or exploration with a partner.
  • Knowing how to have sex in ways that are physically and psychologically safe. This can include understanding how sexually-transmitted diseases pass from partner to partner and using condoms correctly. But it can also include being understanding and supportive of a partner with a sexual dysfunction or one who has experienced sexual trauma.
  • Being open about sex and feeling free to discuss sexual feelings in a straightforward way. For sex positive people, sex isn’t taboo. It’s nothing to feel awkward about.
  • Understanding that it’s okay if you don’t want to have sex. It’s also okay if someone doesn’t want to have sex with you.
  • Accepting other people’s sexual practices, as long as they are safe and consensual among the participants. This means refraining from making moral judgments on behaviors like having many sex partners, having affairs, or having sex with strangers. Activities like threesomes, BDSM, and swinging (“partner-swapping”) would be accepted, too – again, as long as they are done safely and with the consent of all participants. At the same time, being “vanilla” or not particularly sexually adventurous would also be fine. Being sex positive often involves a “live and let live” mindset.
  • Being supportive of all sexual lifestyles and attitudes and accepting those who are homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual,asexual, transgender, bi-gender, or genderfluid, among others.

For some, it might be easy to say, “Yes, I’m sex positive.” But others may feel uncomfortable with the concept. Culture, religion, and past experience may influence the way we feel about sex. If we’re brought up to believe that sex should not occur outside a committed relationship, then we probably won’t accept an open relationship. If we have experienced past sexual abuse, we might be skittish about having sex with a new partner or uncomfortable being touched in a certain way.

Being sex positive can mean different things to different people. The definitions are fluid. However, having discussions on what it means to be sex positive, or to feel positively about sex, is one step toward discovering what sexuality means for us as individuals.

How about you? Are you sex-positive? Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Print this article or view it as a PDF file here: Being Sex-Positive


The Buzz (Good Vibrations Online Magazine)

Royse, Alyssa

“Are WE Sex Positive?”

(September 25, 2012)

The Daily Californian

Cho, Nadia

“Think sex-positive”

(October 2, 2012)

The Frisky

White, Rachel Rabbit

“8 Ways To Be Positive You’re Sex Positive”

(May 9, 2012)

Huffington Post

Coady, Deborah and Nancy Fish

“Our Definition of 'Sex-Positive'”

(October 2, 2012)

Pflug-Black, Kelly Rose

“Why ‘Sex-Positive’ Feminism Is Negative For Me”

(October 7, 2013)


Zar, Rachel

“What Does ‘Sex Positive’ Mean, Anyway?”

(November 17, 2013)